VAN HORNE — Fans from Benton Community talked proudly about the “never-say-die” Bobcat attitude after the home team managed to score three in the bottom of the seventh, before plating the winning run in the ninth for a thrilling 6-5 win over South Tama in a Class 3A substate baseball final Wednesday night.
“We’ve made comebacks like that all season,” said senior starting pitcher Brady Sadler, who scored the winning run. “We know we can do it, it’s just a matter of getting runners on and starting something from there.”
The something that was started was a three-run rally in the home half of the seventh that was ignited when Justise McFarland reached base after being hit by a pitch.
“Coach told us to get on any way possible and Justise did a great job of that for us,” Sadler said.
Sadler started another rally in the bottom of the ninth, reaching on a single followed by base hits from Ian Rupp and Cade Timmerman. That brought Landen Schmuecker to the plate, who had gone 1-for-4 with a double, stolen base and run scored in the sixth.
Schmueker already had three long flyouts, but this time the left fielder was playing in.
“I looked back at the left fielder and I saw how shallow he was,” Sadler said with a smile. “I knew from there we won the game.”
While substate No. 7-seed South Tama ends its improbable run with a 7-17 mark on the year, Benton Community improves to 13-11 and secures a winning record and its first trip to the state tournament since 2012.
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“It’s been so many emotions and we’ve been working for this all year and we know we can do it,” Sadler said, “We know we can go all the way, we made it through this district and took down Xavier. The sky’s the limit for this team.”